Several members of the Bank of Japan Policy Board were concerned over the negative effects that Japan’s stock market decline is having on the financial environment during meetings Aug. 8 and 9, according to minutes released Tuesday.

“Many members expressed the view that it was uncertain whether the current stable financial environment could be maintained if stock prices weakened further,” the minutes say.

A further decline in stock prices could have negative effects, such as provoking fears over the financial system, the expansion of credit spreads and a cautious lending attitude among banks, they say.

“However . . . such negative effects had not materialized so far, and despite the fall in stock prices, there had been no heightening of concern about financial system stability, unlike in the period leading up to the end of March 2002,” the minutes say.

During the meeting, in which the nine-member Policy Board decided to leave the BOJ’s ultra-easy monetary policy intact, all members agreed the central bank should continue to pursue decisive monetary-easing steps.

Some board members advocated targeting the upper limit of the current target range for the outstanding balance of current accounts at the BOJ, according to the minutes. This target stands at “around 10 trillion yen to 15 trillion yen.”

Regarding future monetary policy, “a few members expressed the view that the bank should start deliberating on possible additional measures in case further monetary easing became necessary,” the minutes say.

Board members agreed that the domestic economy had almost stabilized as a whole with exports and production continuing to increase.

Members also noted that the economic outlook was to an extent becoming more uncertain, given developments in overseas economies, particularly the United States.

Regarding the U.S., board members generally agreed that the economic recovery might be weaker than had been expected.

The members also agreed that a depreciation of the dollar against all major currencies had come to a halt since the previous meeting.

“A few members said, however, that the possibility could not be ruled out that the depreciating trend of the U.S. dollar would intensify again, given the uncertainty about the U.S. economic outlook,” the minutes say.

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